From the exhibition across the Road, in Expo Center Gulshane Iqbal, (Garden of
Iqbal), I bought 14 books including a novel ” La Hasil ” ( No yeild) from most
popular Urdu Novelist today; Ms Umairah Ahmad. Her books, though voluminous,
sell like hot cakes. She has a facile pen and knits her plots intelligently, but what
makes her books so popular is the element of suspense typical of crime stories.
Mostly protagonist in her novels is a woman who has strength of Character and
resilience to take on the world head on.
The subject novel starts with a homage to a real life English lady who married
a Pakistani 30 years ago and shifted to Pakistan, never to return to her country.
Like she protagonist of La Hasil faces great hardships due to her past , pre-islamic
life. Her father was a Pakistani who lived with her mother and abandoned her
when she became pregnant. She was short of money and had no savings to feed
her baby, so was forced to become a call girl after seeing her duaghter suffering
from hunger. She collects some money than takes the job of a sales girl in a
department store. Khadija Noor grows up and after O level starts doing similar
job. When she meets a Pakistani in a cricket ground, she spits on his face, but falls
down from stairs while running to safety. He comes to her help, takes her to
hospital and gradually befriends her. When she is convinced that not every Pakistani
is like her father and plans to marry him, he goes to Pakistan for 3 months and does
not return before 6 causing undue hardships and melancholy to Khadija.
Up to here it looks like an ordinary story which are found in almost any neighbor
hood of UK. But then Khadija Noor starts seeking help from Allah Almighty asking
for his support to lead a pious, honorable life. She recites Chapter Yasin of holy
Quran, which is traditionally recited in every difficulty including but not limited to
death. She is particularly impressed by the verse :
” When He intends to do something, He just says ” Be” and it is. ".
She finds consolation and starts praying the non mandatory prayer in the late
night called ” Tahajjud ". Then a one to one relationship with Allah
Almighty develops which makes her very pious, brave and determined person,
almost like a saint.
Umairah writes crisp, powerful dialogs and portrays the characters well. She uses
English idioms and metaphors liberally. No wonder many of her novels have been adapted in to popular TV serials. I spent the last day of 2010 reading "La Hasil ”
and could not put it aside till very late in night. So if you are interested in reading a
different novel in a different environment with strange belief in the unseen God
and the resulting miracles, this novel of Umairah is worth giving a try. Merely at GBP 2.00 it is a bargain not to be missed. Risk however, is that you may become an
addict like most of her Pakistani readers, females or males, have become.
M J Iqbal